-=-=-=-=-=- POST-PRIDE THOUGHTS
Well, that was a San Diego Pride for the record-books. It felt great to behold so many active-duty men and women being bold, open and proud again. I was openly gay for the last 2-1/2 years I was in the Navy (with NO hassles, since gay liberation was the new civil rights), and I got out in 1979, just before Reagan came in with his Moral Majority creeps that caused everything to go bad for us again. This later period of fear, bigotry and dread has gone on for too long.
I also found out that EIGHT houseguests is my limit for Pride weekend (we even set aside some space on the kitchen floor for #8), plus a great big dog that I was puppy-sitting for the weekend. I am still cleaning English Mastiff slobber off of the furniture, but he's worth it.
The hero of the Leather Realm was Ms. San Diego Leather 2009 Christi Campbell, with her army of dedicated volunteers. I'm boggled by the amount of work that those folks poured into that magnificent space. If we have to be segregated into a space that hides us from public view, why not turn it into the best part of the whole Pride Festival? The team was a blur of continuous action, and everything fell together as if by magic, instead of hard, unending work. I wish that I could muster that kind of stamina!
The Leather contingent in the San Diego Pride Parade for 2011 was amiable, sexy, diverse and a fine way to represent our community. It was a contest between Wish (laying on her side in the center of this group photo) and me, to see who could be more fussy about providing a constant supply of food, water and sunscreen for the whole crew. I think she won! There was a nice breeze, so we stayed cooler than expected during the long walk along the parade route. My favorite part was watching the handsome, younger leathermen interacting with the folks along the route and with each other… Lots of hugging, smooching, leg-humping (yes, that was Britt) and a lot of charming interplay that was always welcome and admired. I don't know how well this will work for you (this is my first time trying this), but here is a video clip of the Leather contingent as we were heading toward the beginning of the parade. Let me know how successful it is, so I can post other video-clips as time goes by.
-=-=-=-=-=- COMING BACK HOME TO THE CENTER
For decades, there has been a mutually-distrustful relationship between the local LGBT Community Center and the gay leathermen's community. I won't dredge up old issues, but suffice it to say that those of us who have been around the longest, have had the least faith in the Center's commitment to ALL of the LGBT community.
As a result, we have not had any large, annual events (such as titleholder contests) in the Center's huge main auditorium for years. We have made do with other locations, but it has seemed unfair to me that we have automatically dismissed the Center's facility when making plans for the upcoming years. After all, the Leather Fashion Show at the Center was a smashing success, but then, it was put on by a team that lacked old resentments.
I began a dialog with Delores Jacobs, the Director of the Center, and she was astonished that there was any old, lingering rancor on the part of gay leathermen. She simply couldn't imagine why there would be any issues, and this doesn't surprise me, because the old discords happened long before she showed up. She assured me that the Center is 100% committed to serving the needs of the entire community, without bias, and I'm quite satisfied that she means it.
So… Maybe in February 2012, we can have a GREAT BIG Mr. SD Eagle 2012 Contest at the Center's main hall? The last one at the bar was so crowded, there was no room for a single additional attendee! The Center's Auditorium can handle a crowd of 548, according to the Fire Marshal. Let's dream big!